Sunday, December 19, 2010


I just finished watching Oprah's interview with Dr. William Petit.  His wife and two daughters were tortured and killed in their Connecticut home in 2007.  You can read their story here and see part of his interview here.  There are no words.  What a horrific tragedy.  To lose his wife and two daughters -- his whole family.  His whole life.  It is heartbreaking to even think about how he his coping and still managing to put one foot in front of the other.  I am not sure that I could.

Losing Harper has been like a tornado running rampant through my life.  It has shaken me to the core and continues to rattle my world.  But thankfully, I have had the love and support of my dear, dear husband to help me navigate my way through this mess.  He has been there every step of the way helping me to put the pieces back up on the shelf even when they bounce right back off.  He has been my rock.  We are grieving for our daughter together.  I am certain that I would not be where I am today had it not been for him.  Dr. Petit has no wife to grieve the loss of their children with and no children to live for as they grieve the loss of their mother and his wife.  Sure, he has a family that is very supportive but they are grieving differently; for a neice or a grand daughter.  He is grieving for the loss of his *whole* world -- his whole family unit.

The pain and heartbreak was just seeping from him as he spoke.  It was evident how hard it was for him to talk about his beloved family but he handled it with such grace and poise.  The utter sadness in his eyes as he talked about all of the dreams and hopes he had for his daughters, Haley and Michaela, was heartbreaking. They will never know true love, never go to college, never get married...etc.   As the interview progressed Dr. Petit said this, "Children whose parents die are called orphans. Someone whose spouse dies is called a widow or widower.  But what do you call a Mother or Father whose child or children dies? There isn't a word for it."  He is right.  There isn't a word.  Oprah then adds that there isn't a word because no parent should ever have to bury their child; that it isn't natural.  Exactly, it most certainly isn't.  He said that children are the "jewels of our lives".  They are our riches, our life's work...what do we have without them?

As I continued to watch this interview I gained so much perspective.  I felt like I could empathize so much with this man's pain but obviously not on the same scale.  I don't have Harper.  I know that no matter how many little ones we may be blessed with in the future (please let us be blessed again), it will never be her.  I struggle with that a lot.  I want *her* back but I know that it isn't possible.  BUT, I still have my husband, my love, the father to hopefully a sibling(s) for Harper.  I still have the ability to bring another child into the world (as far as I know).  I have so much to be thankful for and so much to hope for.

As the interview closed, Dr. Petit said that he hopes to feel truly happy again but he will never be the person he was before that tragic day. "There's a jagged hole in your heart, there's a jagged hole in your soul. Over time, the waves of goodness going back and forth maybe smooth the jagged edges a little bit, but the hole remains. I don't think you fill it in."  I can certainly identify with this statement.  I know I will never be the person that I was in June 2010.  My heart will always be broken for the life my family should have had and I will always grieve for the little person who is missing.  My hope is to find true joy in my life again.  That's all any of us can do, just hope.


Melissa said...

I am so glad you can lean on your husband like that. I, too, am so thankful for one person who is travelling the same exact journey as me, losing our daughter, as he is really the only one who feels the pain with the same intensity. I did not see the Oprah show but my husband heard Dr. Petit speak before and I remember him once telling me that exact same quote about the jagged hole in the heart smoothing out over time. I can relate to that, although somedays I do wishing the smoothing would occur a bit more quickly. Here's to hope....

Drew's Parents said...

What a horrific and tragic story. My heart aches for Dr. Petit. I cannot begin to imagine the pain and anger he must feel. I couldn't agree more with his perspective of forgiveness, but I can only imagine the anger that he must have. How can the hole caused by such a loss ever be filled. Thank you for sharing this story. Your title is perfect. Sending you love!

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